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NBA draft roundup: Cavs jumping to No. 2 for Beal?

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NBA draft roundup: Cavs jumping to No. 2 for Beal?

Forget whether or not the Wizards would draft Florida guard Bradley Beal with the third overall pick in Thursday's NBA Draft or ponder other scenarios. We all believe that to be the case. What if he's not available? That seems unlikely if the Charlotte Bobcats, holders of the No. 2 selection, keep the pick. However, for a woeful Bobcats team that literally needs everything, trading down for multiple picksplayers sure makes a ton of sense.It's also logical to think the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team drafting one spot behind the Wizards, very much want a knockdown shooter opposite star guard Kyrie Irving. The scary thing for the Wizards -the Cavs have the assetsto get a deal done, specificallythe No. 24 overall pick.The Cavaliers recently brought in the 6-foot-4 Beal to work out against 6-foot-8 Harrison Barnes, another high lottery candidate. From the Akron Beacon Journal:"Beal worked out recently for the Cavs against Harrison Barnes, and while both players performed well, Barnes' extra four inches didn't really stop Beal from doing what he wanted in the workout, according to those with knowledge of how it went."Barnes, a natural small forward, isthe apparentfall back option for the Cavaliers - less so for the Wizards due to the frontcourt logjam. That is assuming the Bobcats do not grab the North Carolina scorer at No. 2. However, the Bobcats would rather not reach for Barnes in that spot which is another reason why a swap with the Cavs could be in play - unless the Cavs aretaking Barnes themselveswhile keeping their other tradable assets.In a post late last week - What if dealing Blatche last week also meant trading away number 3 - I speculated on a couple of trade down scenarios for the Wizards. One involved theHouston Rockets, a team armed with cap space and multiple first-round picks. Apparently for now, I'm at least half right with my theory.The Rockets are indeed looking tomove on up, according to a report, having"discussed deals with several teams in the top 10 about moving up in the draft." The ESPN report says Sacramento, owners of the No. 5 pickand Toronto (8) are the current hot spots with Connecticut center Andre Drummond the apparent target. Rockets disgruntled point guard Kyle Lowry could be part of the bait,though unlikely thatasset does much to entice a Wizards team with John Wall. The Rockets own picks 14 and 16.In addition to what the Bobcats and Rockets might do, Pro Basketball Talk's Kurt Helin analyzes the likelihood of the various trade rumors centering on the draft. The odds are probably long, but I buy the Chicago Bulls looking to peddle Luol Deng. Yes, even without Derrick Rose for most or all of the 2012-13 season Chicago remains a playoff team. A championship contending team, that's a different story. Parting ways with Deng, miscast in the role of Robin to Rose's Batman, for younger, cheaper and perhaps multiple pieces could help the Bulls truly rejoin the title fight when Rose returns for real for real.

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: John Wall goes 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, celebrity softball and the Summer League

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards Tipoff podcast: John Wall goes 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, celebrity softball and the Summer League

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, John Wall went 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, the celebrity softball game and the Summer League.

Chase Hughes and Chris Miller broke down the parallels between Wall and Harper and why Wall has chosen to stay loyal to Washington in his own contract decisions. Plus, can the Wizards really tone down the talking this season?

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Kawhi Leonard going to the Raptors may actually be good news for the Wizards and the East

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Kawhi Leonard going to the Raptors may actually be good news for the Wizards and the East

Through nearly three weeks of NBA free agency and almost a month of trades, the Eastern Conference had remained eerily quiet. The Wizards had arguably been the most aggressive team in the East, as all the biggest moves had occurred in the West and, most notably, LeBron James changed coasts.

That all changed on Wednesday as the Toronto Raptors pulled off a trade with the San Antonio Spurs to land Kawhi Leonard, a two-time defensive player of the year. The full deal includes All-NBA guard DeMar DeRozan going to San Antonio along with big man Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first round pick. The Raptors also get guard Danny Green, according to ESPN.

Here are some takeaways from the trade...

This is good, potentially great news for the Wizards

The worst-case scenario for the Wizards and most of the East would have been if Leonard got dealt to either the Sixers or Celtics, as the potential would have been there for a dominant team. The Sixers, in particular, could have conceivably traded for Leonard without giving up much in the way of pieces that can help them now. They would have teamed Leonard with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid and would probably be the favorites to reach the NBA Finals. Instead, the Sixers struck out and now face the prospect of taking a pretty big L on this offseason, given all the guys they were tied to going into it.

Leonard and the Raptors will be good and they may even be better than they were last season. Though the Raptors won 59 games in the regular season, they disappointed in the playoffs. Leonard could change that, but he won't have the help to make them an unstoppable force. Kyle Lowry is good, but he's an aging player and they don't have a third star, at least not yet. They have a lot of recent first round picks that could, in theory, make the leap.

This deal is good for the Wizards and could become great if Leonard leaves in free agency next summer. If he does, the Raptors will be in deep trouble.

What will the Lakers do?

When James signed with the Lakers, most assumed they would then add at least one star to run with him. But now that Leonard is going to Toronto, it's very possible they don't add one at all. James might actually have to play with Lonzo Ball in addition to Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee. Sure, they can sign Leonard next summer or find another star then, but this is shaping up as of now to be a lost year for James.

As consistitued, they aren't winning anything of substance. It's just so surprising James would be cool with this level of talent around him considering what he could have done this season if he signed with Philly or some other team.

People are looking at the wrong contract

Much of the instant reaction to the Leonard trade was praise for the Raptors in ridding themselves of DeRozan's deal. That's a headscratcher. DeRozan is set to make over $27 million in the next three years, the third being a player option, but he's an All-NBA player who turns 29 next month. In the context of NBA contracts, that isn't too bad.

Lowry's contract, on the other hand, is borderline awful. He's 32 with his numbers heading in the wrong direction and he's due to make $31 million next season and $33.3 million the year after. It's not like the Raptors freed themselves of their worst deal.

Masai is making moves

This is a risk for the Raptors and you have to respect it. Their general manager, Masai Ujiri, had seen enough of the DeRozan-Lowry duo falling short in the playoffs. He fired head coach Dwane Casey and pulled off a trade for Leonard, who at his best is one of the premier players in the NBA.

There is considerable risk in this move with Leonard having missed 73 games last season with a quadriceps injury and given the fact he can opt to test free agency next summer. If he really does want to join the Lakers, he could leave the Raptors empty-handed.

But it's a risk that is probably worth taking. Everyone assumed the same future for Paul George and he ended up staying in Oklahoma City. It's not a guarantee Leonard leaves and now the Raptors have a year to convince him to stay. Ujiri should get praise for this deal because it's bold and he did one of the hardest things a GM can do in finding a top-5 talent for his team.

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